Opuntia quitensis

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Opuntia johnsonii

Red Buttons Opuntia

This plant is native to South America in low elevations in the Andes of Ecuador and Peru. The species name quitensis derives from the city name Quito, the capital of Ecuador. This plant can also be seen with the name Opuntia johnsonii, named after Harry Johnson owner of a large nursery in Fallbrook, CA. That name is not a validly published name, but refers to a certain localized form selected by Mr. Johnson of the variable Opuntia quitensis species, having smaller pads and vibrant orange flowers. It can also be seen with the name “Johnson’s Hybrid”, although the plant is not a hybrid, it’s a selected form. This plant grows best in partial shade to full sun. The pads can be spineless or have random spines, usually on the upper portion of the pad. The flowers on new pads form at the very tip of the pad, a unique feature. Once that pad has bloomed from the tip, it can produce flowers more standard to Opuntia, from the upper areoles. This plant needs water when growing in spring and summer but very little to none during the winter dormant time. This plant produces beautiful vibrant orange flowers, almost florescent. This plant is a low grower that spreads wide.